The UK government recently updated the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations in response to the EU Privacy Directive. As a result of this the Information Commissioner's Office has provided guidance on the EU Cookie Law which came into effect in May 2012. 

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files that the web sites you visit place on your computer to store information about your visit. Cookies are 'passive' in that they contain information your browser can retrieve, but do not contain programmes, viruses or malicious software. Cookies normally expire after a certain length of time, although that time can be anywhere from a few minutes to more than a year.

Cookies can be divided into two categories: 'session' and 'persistent'. Session cookies are temporary and are deleted when you close your browser or after a period of inactivity. Persistent cookies remain on your computer until the expiration date/time set by the cookie creator.

Can I delete cookies?

Yes, you can both view the cookies stored on your computer and delete some or all of them. Each web browser has a different procedure for doing so. Here are instructions for deleting cookies in some popular browsers:

Can I set my browser to block cookies?

Yes, most browsers allow you to specify which types of cookies you will accept or to reject all cookies. As each browser is different, here are some of the most common ones:

As above, you may see an alert message when visiting some sites that recommends you accept cookies for an optimal browsing experience.

Which cookies does this website use?

The most common type of cookie used on this web site is set by Google Analytics, which provides anonymous statistical data to us to show usage trends and to aid in making decisions about what types of content are most popular. 

Session cookies

We use a temporary session cookie to store information as you use this website. This is essential to let you login to the website. This cookie is deleted once you close your browser. We record the organisation you are from when you login to let us know how are website is being used.

Other cookies

We use four Google Analytics cookies on this website (named utma, utmb, utmc and utmz) to track how you use this website and help us to identify visitor trends such as most popular searches, the time of day that the website is most frequently used etc. None of the information collected by these cookies can personally identify you.

We use a cookie called has_js to let us identify if you have javascript enabled in your browser. This makes it easier for us to provide search functionality that best suits your computer setup. 

Finally we store a cookie named cookie_agreed_en. The purpose of this is let us know if we have displayed the cookie policy message to you previously and, if it has been displayed, to hide the message thereafter.